The Chrysanthemums

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September 27, 2011

“The Chrysanthemums” Critical Analysis

“The Chrysanthemums”, written by John Steinbeck is a story about a thirty-five year-old woman named Elisa Allen and her encounter with an old bearded man in a wagon and his effect in her perspective in life. The point of view in which the story was narrated is relevant to its analysis and understanding. Also a character analysis can be done to interpret how they each think and act the way they do. Steinbeck uses a great amount of symbols that can be analyzed to conclude the characteristics of the characters of the story as well as the setting and time in which it takes place. The protagonist, Elisa Ellen, also faces different changes or transformations during the story that transcends her feelings and emotions at that time.

The story has an omniscient narrator, an unidentified speaker that even though narrates about other characters, is mostly focused on Elisa. It seems as if the point of view is mostly about Elisa, the narrator creates the impression that he can not only see Elisa’s actions, but he can also see her emotions. That trait allows us to see through her eyes and understand her feelings. That is demonstrated when we do not know what the men are discussing with Henry until she does, or when she feels both frustration and later excitement towards the man in the wagon, but we do not know what he feels.

An analysis of each main character individually can be made to understand the story better. Henry Allen, for example, is the man of the house, the provider for the family. Due to the fact that the story takes places in a patriarchal time, Henry takes care of the ranch and of his wife, providing them with a comfortable life. He is a good husband and a nice man that treats her with respect. He however does not have much faith in her abilities other than house duties and gardening. It is clear in the story that there is a lack of passion in their marriage and it seems as if they are...
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